Present meets past at the Museum of Civilization's exhibit, "Tombs of Eternity", the afterlife in ancient Egypt. The star attraction among the exhibit's 260 artifacts is the 2500 year old mummification of Hetep-Bastet, a rich noblewoman who died in Memphis, Egypt around the age of 65. Before being displayed at the exhibit her mummified remains were taken to the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. There she was given a CT scan for researchers to have a greater insight on how she died over 25 centuries ago. Key Records spoke with the Museum's Conservators as they worked to restore Hetep-Bastet's coffin. They informed us they were restoring the coffin, which would later be on exhibit at the museum, opening December 19 2008. Working carefully on sections of the coffin the Conservators preserved the hieroglyphs and artwork that covered the wooden coffin.
In ancient times wealthy Egyptians put much thought into preparing themselves for the next world. They believed they would one-day return. To prepare for their eventual rebirth after death they would purchase a sarcophagus, (coffin). They also would purchase a mummy board, which would be placed inside the coffin. Their body would then be mummified and bound after they died. Workshops would make coffins and Egyptian Artisans would be employed to decorate the coffins with elaborate artwork, names, prayers and hieroglyphs. Common types of coffin artwork were elaborate drawings of divine wings. These wings would symbolize the deceased person was protected in the afterlife.
The "Tombs of Eternity" exhibit is a window into ancient Egypt. It runs until August 16, 2009 at the museum of civilization. For more information visit www.civilization.ca/tombs
Video of Conservators recorded November 25th 2008 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. Video of exhibit, "Tombs of Eternity", recorded March 3rd 2009 at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.